2016 Resolution: Learning to Make Time for Others

Well, I’m about a week late, but happy New Year!

I can’t believe it’s 2016 already. I remember sitting in my fourth grade classroom writing out the year ‘2006’ on my paper like it was yesterday. Being here, typing this ten years later is much too surreal. And yet it feels like it’s been an eternity.

Truth be told, I’ve gone through hell and back to be where I am today, and I haven’t made it very far. I’m currently back in my childhood bedroom, surrounded by Ninja Turtles and video game posters, Game Boys and plushies. I’m still striving towards a career where I’ll never have to grow up, and yet, ironically in the process, I’ve matured considerably.

As a formal introduction to who I am and what I hope to attain, my name is Gabe Carey. I’ve been writing since I was six years old. It took me until last year to recognize my talent as a gift, and moreover, as a viable career option.

I’d been getting paid to write since I was sixteen. I’ll be twenty in April. At the time I was mostly doing copywriting and corporate blogging. I was making more than enough money to quit my part-time job at Best Buy. However, my work started to consume me very early on. As a freelancer, someone who chooses their own work schedule, it’s easy to write off your education, social life, and extracurricular activities to dedicate all of your time to making money.

“I can’t tonight. I have to work,” became my go-to response to anyone who asked me to get involved in anything. The worst part was, most people didn’t know what the hell I was doing for “work.”

I wanted to be a video games journalist. Not so much anymore, but at the time that’s what I was working towards. I knew it would be difficult, if nearly impossible to get a job at IGN, even with a degree and a handful of experience. So I dedicated all of my time and energy to it.

Little did I know, my dreams were nothing without the support of people around me.

After graduating high school, the pressure was on for me to start college. Just like everyone else was doing. Because it was expected of me.

Word of advice: if you are hesitant at all about attending college, don’t go yet — and especially don’t attend an expensive private college, only to cultivate an affluence of credits that won’t transfer elsewhere. College isn’t for everyone. The popular route isn’t always the best one. How’s that Robert Frost poem go —” I took the [road] less traveled by and that has made all the difference?”

I left Champlain College as a sophomore Management of Creative Media major in December 2015.

So a year and a half in, all of the work I put into my classes has gone to waste, right? Wrong. College for me was never about the arbitrary grading policies or the credits or even the degree for that matter. It was about growing up. It was about self-discovery. It was about reconfiguring my path and realizing that — hey, maybe we can’t predetermine life’s outcomes. In some instances, we have to leave things up to chance.

Looking into the future, like many of you, I don’t want to relive my past. My busy work schedule has interfered with copious friendships, relationships, and surely many other types of ships in the past four years.

I don’t know if I believe in New Year’s resolutions, but if I need to have one, I would like to cut down on my selfishness. I’ve been blessed with many opportunities to start over, and I’ve butchered every single one of them. The least I can do is learn from my reckless behavior and avoid making the same mistakes again.

Sure, work is important, but even more important are all the friends I pushed away over the years to get to this point. Those nights I said “I have to work” only to spend four hours applying for jobs I never got or writing something I could have easily held off on for one more day — not one of them was worth it.

Some days you have to take a step back, drop everything you’re doing, and appreciate the company of anyone who’s willing to do the same for you.

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